GPR37 and GPR37L1 are orphan G protein-coupled receptors that are most abundantly expressed in the central nervous system. We assessed potential activation of GPR37 and GPR37L1 by a handful of orphan neuropeptides and found that both receptors can be activated in transfected non-neuronal cells by prosaptide, which is a 14-amino-acid peptide derived from the precursor protein prosaposin. Prosaptide is known to exert neuroprotective actions in certain areas of the brain, such as the substantia nigra, via unidentified G protein-coupled receptors, and also known to exert beneficial effects in vivo on relieving neuropathic pain and promoting remyelination in animal models of nerve damage. The overall goals of the experiments described in this exploratory R21 application are to test whether GPR37 and/or GPR37L1 mediate the ability of prosaptide to stimulate survival signaling in primary neurons and promote the survival of dopaminergic neurons in vivo. The signaling studies will focus on primary cultures of dopaminergic neurons from the ventral mesencephalon and cortical neurons, which preferentially express GPR37 vs. GPR37L1, respectively. Cultures will be prepared from wild-type mice as well as from mice that are null for expression of GPR37 ("GPR37-KO") or GPR37L1 ("GPR37L1-KO"). The ability of prosaptide to stimulate phospho-ERK and phospho-Akt in these neurons will then be assessed in cultures prepared from the WT vs. KO mice. In addition to these experiments studying the effects of prosaptide on survival signaling, we will also challenge the neurons with insults (such as trophic factor withdrawal or treatment with the toxin MPP+) in the absence and presence of varying doses of prosaptide to assess the effects of the peptide on neuronal survival. In parallel with the experiments on cultured neurons, the whole-animal studies will assess the neuroprotective effects of prosaptide on dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra following treatment with the dopaminergic neurotoxin MPTP. We will employ 2 different MPTP regimens (both acute and chronic) to assess the role of GPR37 and GPR37L1 in the neuroprotective effects of prosaptide in vivo. These MPTP toxicity studies will be performed in parallel with WT, GPR37-KO and GPR37L1-KO mice. If the work described in this proposal can establish GPR37 and/or GPR37L1 as the receptor(s) that mediate the neuroprotective actions of prosaptide in primary neuronal cultures and in vivo, then future studies can focus on the discovery of small molecule agonists and/or positive allosteric modulators of these receptors that might serve as novel therapeutics in the treatment of Parkinson's Disease, stroke, neuropathic pain and myelination disorders.

Public Health Relevance

Prosaptide is a neuropeptide that is known to exert neuroprotective actions in certain areas of the brain, such as the substantia nigra, via unidentified G protein-coupled receptors, and also known to exert beneficial effects in vivo on relieving neuropathic pain and promoting remyelination in animal models of nerve damage. We found that prosaptide can activate the orphan G protein-coupled receptors GPR37 and GPR37L1 in transfected non-neuronal cells, and we now seek to understand if GPR37 and/or GPR37L1 mediate the neuroprotective actions of prosaptide in cultured neurons as well as in an animal model of Parkinson's Disease. Given the known actions of prosaptide in vivo, identification of the receptor(s) mediating the physiological effects of this neuroprotective peptide may pave the way for novel therapeutics in the treatment of Parkinson's Disease, stroke, neuropathic pain and myelination disorders.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Type
Exploratory/Developmental Grants (R21)
Project #
5R21NS081461-02
Application #
8550157
Study Section
Molecular Neuropharmacology and Signaling Study Section (MNPS)
Program Officer
Sieber, Beth-Anne
Project Start
2012-09-24
Project End
2014-08-31
Budget Start
2013-09-01
Budget End
2014-08-31
Support Year
2
Fiscal Year
2013
Total Cost
$225,810
Indirect Cost
$81,060
Name
Emory University
Department
Pharmacology
Type
Schools of Medicine
DUNS #
066469933
City
Atlanta
State
GA
Country
United States
Zip Code
30322
Meyer, Rebecca C; Giddens, Michelle M; Coleman, Brilee M et al. (2014) The protective role of prosaposin and its receptors in the nervous system. Brain Res 1585:1-12
Meyer, Rebecca C; Giddens, Michelle M; Schaefer, Stacy A et al. (2013) GPR37 and GPR37L1 are receptors for the neuroprotective and glioprotective factors prosaptide and prosaposin. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 110:9529-34